To be obedient is to obey the orders of one’s elders and superiors. There cannot be order unless there is obedience. One has to obey the laws of the country, otherwise the society cannot exist. The laws may be irksome, but, for the overall good of the law one must obey them. For instance, the laws to be obeyed on the road ensures road safety. The laws pertaining to property help society continue without hitches and hindrances. Even in our body our limbs obey the commands of the brains unless they are diseased. Obedience is essential for the enforcement of order.
Obedience includes obedience to one’s parents and elders. Parents are the best well wishers of their children. From their experience, they know what is good for their children. They would never mean ill for them. For the sake of the well being of the children, parents insist on obedience. Obedient children grow into fine children. They are not only loved by their parents but also by others connected with the household and by the neighbours.
It is our duty to obey our parents, that is, to do always what they tell us to do. All that we have is given to us by our parents food, clothing and education. They tend us when we are too young to do anything for ourselves. They watch over us in times of sickness, provide for our amusement, teach us the principles of their religion, and guard us from evil influences. Obedience is a very simple way of showing gratitude for these benefits. It is a way that is well within the reach of the young infant as well as the full-grown son. Parents are not only the providers of benefits, but are the guides of their children in all the relations of life. There may be cases where a father and a mother prove themselves unworthy of their children’s regard; but it is usually found that parents are as solicitous for their children’s welfare as their own. Being adults and having experience of the world, they are in a position to form better judgments than their children.
Therefore not only is it the duty of a child to obey his parents, but in doing so he is consulting his best interests. Just as the boy who would learn to eat must attend to the instructions of his teacher, so those who wish to grow up into honest and useful men must follow the dictates of their parents. The captain, when entering a strange port trusts to the pilot to guide his ship safely. Our parents are our pilots. We sail in strange waters, and our safety depends on submission to the directions of those who are more experienced. We are not always well-advised in our choice of companions. When the time comes for us to decide what trade or profession we are to follow, when misunderstanding and perplexities arise, be done; and it is our duty to obey implicitly, for love and experience combine to give value to their advice. Examples of disobedient sons and daughters are but too common in this world, and very regrettable have often been the results of this disobedience. In former times, among the Romans, it was considered a serious crime, and the father might, if he was so minded, punish it by death.
One of the ten commandments given by God to the Jews was: “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.” Disobedience is base ingratitude, and one of the greatest cruelties a child can inflict upon a parent who has toiled for years for his sake, and lavished upon him all his affections, regardless of self. It is a crime which brings its own punishment. How bitter must be the remorse of one who, standing by the deathbed of a parent, remembers all that parent’s love and constant unselfishness, which have been repaid by disregard for his wishes and outspoken contempt for his orders! Obedience, in human behavior, is a form of “social influence in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authority figure” Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the majority.
Obedience can be seen as both a sin and a virtue. For example in a situation when one orders a person to kill another innocent person and he or she does this willingly, it is generally considered to be a sin. However when one orders a person to kill an enemy who will end a lot of innocent lives and he or she does this willingly it can be deemed a virtue. Humans have been shown to be surprisingly obedient in the presence of perceived legitimate authority figures, as shown by the Milgram experiment in the 1960s, which was carried-out by Stanley Milgram to find how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to take part in the mass murders of the Holocaust.
The experiment showed that obedience to authority was the norm, not the exception. Regarding obedience, Stanley Milgram said that “Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to; Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others.”  A similar conclusion was reached in the Stanford prison experiment.